Timber Time!

The first trunk was prepared for removal.

I was sitting in my family’s backyard a few weeks ago when I noticed that one of the two elm trees was loosing leaves. We were a bit surprised, given that it was June. We contacted a tree company who came out and diagnosed this tree and the other elm in our backyard with dutch elm disease. Even though my parents had the trees injected regularly for nearly twenty years, there was little that could be done to save the (likely fifty year old) trees. We were told they would have to be removed. Standing taller than our house and stretching beyond the property limits, we knew that removing these trees would be no small feet.

The tree company that we contracted to remove the trees arrived yesterday to chop them down. The whole operation took two days. The first day they removed most branches from both trees. Their progress was impressive. Near the end of the day a branch landed on some power lines, knocking our neighbor out of service and removing our ground line. Fortunately the power company was able to come out quickly – our neighbor had their electricity back and we had a grounded line within a couple of hours.

On the second day, the tree company worked to finish cutting branches, to cut the tree trunks, and to remove the limbs. While they had initially planned to do this work with a small Bobcat that they brought, they decided to employ the assistance of a crane. The crane was fun to watch as it lifted huge branches over our house. The Bobcat was also quite interesting. It was smaller than a typical Bobcat (and it could fit through our gate), and was quite helpful when for guiding tree limbs down.

The trees are now down. Though we have a little bit of sod patching to do, our backyard looks nice and the inside of our house is much more sunny and lively. I am impressed by how quickly and efficiently the trimmers worked.

I took a number of pictures of the removal process and also a video showing how the crane worked. Follow our 48 hour backyard transformation below!

Up to the North Shore

I just returned from a trip with my family to the north shore of Lake Superior in northern Minnesota. The weather was pleasant – highs were in the mid 70s and raindrops were few and far between. It was a nice escape from the warm 90 degree weather we have had here in the Twin Cities.

We spent time in Duluth, Lutsen, Grand Marais, Thunder Bay, Canada, and at parks and scenic attractions in nearby areas. We enjoyed walking by Lake Superior, seeing the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth, checking out small town shops and a small town church, and much more. Take a look at the photos I took, which depict some of the interesting things we saw. Feel free to click on individual images for a larger view.

While we were in Grand Marais, we saw a prop plane (pictured above) take off and land several times. The pilot gives scenic tours in his 1960s four-seater plane (three passengers plus the pilot). He said that he charges $50 per passenger for fifteen minutes of flight, with discounts for additional passengers and amounts of time. It was fun to watch him use the harbor as his tarmac, and I thought web visitors might be interested in this sight. See video of a take-off below.

We had a great time on the north shore!